[The following messages were sent on September 23, 2013. It has been a big week for me (her mom), and I have been slow getting her blog caught up! My apologies!!! Today marks the two month anniversary of her departure. The time is flying by!! Hermana Emma Rose Phipps has only 437 more days to serve!]
HERE ARE TWO PICTURES OF ME AND MY ANIMAL FRIENDS!!
I want to tell you more about my area out here and how I go about doing what I do.
Am I biking or riding?
I definitely have a car. We are actually working in the city but they haven't found an apartment yet that they want to purchase for the area. So, until then we are temporarily living on the farm which is 20 minutes away from most of the people we are currently contacting. So we definitely need to use our bikes. We have a limited amount of miles and when we start to run out, we will use our bikes to go to places that are close to one another.
The area we have been opening has never had Sisters in it before! So that is exciting! There are lots of people with potential and I can't wait to find more and more investigators.
Are there any Spanish Speaking people in Spokane?
I get asked this question A LOT by people in Spokane! There are tons of Spanish speakers! My view might be a bit biased since I mostly am looking and meeting with people who speak Spanish... Also, our Mission Branch Leader said there are 22,000 Spanish speaking people in the greater Spokane area. That is more people than live in Brigham City! So, all I really need to do is find the amount of people in Brigham City and talk to them ALL while I am on my mission! There are only eight Spanish speaking missionaries right now in Spokane. There used to be a ton more, but when the mission was split, about 57 missionaries went to the Kennewick Mission, because there is a lot more need there.
In other news about the amount of Spanish speakers here. Our Branch just announced last Sunday that it would be split! Which is great because the Branch is quite far away from many of the members. Now the Branch will be closer to many. I can also tell it is really a bit sad for the Branch because the members are very close to each other. I definitely came to this mission at an exciting time!
Also, Spokane, in general, is very diverse! We have talked to people who speak Russian, Indian, Albanese, and lots of Marshallese. In fact, there is a Marshallese Branch here and a Chinese group too, with missionaries working for both groups! Plus, we just received two missionaries who can speak Russian!! Which is a blessing, because there are a ton of Russian language speakers!
How do we go about finding?
So, you might be wondering how we go about finding Spanish speakers, right? I know I was definitely wondering about that before I came out here. No worries! There are lots of ways to find people! First of all, we ask everyone we talk to about the people they know who speak Spanish. The Church also offers free English classes so we tell them about that sometimes and ask who they know that would be interested. Also, we have a HUGE festival our branch is putting on for the whole Latino-Americano community in the greater Spokane area. So we have been spreading the news and finding people that way. Also, there are other ways too! And we are always trying them out.
How do I watch General Conference?
I am so so so so excited for General Conference! I just finished reading all the talks of the Prophet and Apostles from last Conference! Each talk has helped me out so much and I can't wait to hear more! I get to watch every session in our meeting house! That is where most of the members watch it here in Spokane! I think I will be watching it in English, but I am not very sure... so... we will see next Saturday during the RS General Meeting.
Did I eat Any of That TUNA???
Did I eat any fish? NO!... And I am completely okay with that!! They haven't offered any to us. They told me that they give many of the cans away to friends who love getting some every year. They did give us fresh eggs from their chickens on Saturday! Those are fun to eat!!
I will send pictures! Bye for now, Love from...Hermana Phipps
[As parents we, and even some ward members, have used technology to STALK Emma by computer. It is absolutely beautiful in Mead, Washington where Emma is serving. Tall pine trees and beautiful rural landscape. Lucky Missionary!!]
I Wonder if they Clear the Pine Trees to have Farm Land?!?
A Beautiful Clear Day in Washington doing the Work!
We now have four progressing investigators! Which is wonderful!! We are really trying to focus on their needs and helping them with anything they need. We are teaching English to one once a week! We taught her some English last Thursday. She knows a lot but says she struggles with pronunciation. So we are trying to teach her that, but pronunciation in English is so much harder than Spanish. In Spanish it is almost always the same. In English we have funny little rules! I try to remember mom's reading program she uses to help.
I have a lot more amazing stories, but I will deep them for next time! Don't worry, they are safely waiting in my heart. I will never forget the experiences I am living here each day. Love you Lots, Hermana Phipps
Emma's P-Day is on Monday so we finally heard from her on September 16th -- 450 day mark!
We had not heard from her since September 8th -- it was a L-O-N-G wait!!
Washington Spokane is perfect for Hermana Phipps. Seriously, so many times a day I think to myself, "Wow, this place just matches you perfectly!" I love all the trees everywhere! I believe President Mullen has already told you where I live. It is called Mead and it is an area North of Spokane. For the month I will be living at the members Fallstrom's Farm. I LOVE THE FARM so much!! It reminds me of a mix between 280 East (Grandma Connie's Farm House) and the fruit highway in Perry and Willard! The Fallstrom's love their farm and work from sun up to sun down on it. They also love fishing!!! (More is coming about that!) They built a little fruit stand and I can't wait to buy some fresh corn from them. The farm is so cute. And the best part is: there are LLAMAS AND EMUS AND ALPACAS AND GOATS!!!!! Whoever said you can't have pets on your mission obviously didn't live on the Fallstrom Farm.
Yes, I feel like the luckiest Hermana in the world!!!
If that wasn't enough for me to be the luckiest girl ever, the Lord gave me the greatest companion in the history of missions. She is the perfect trainer for me! She pushes me but is always so kind. I just hope I can one day be a missionary like her. All the members in the branch LOVE HER!! And they are right to do so! They tell me how lucky I am, and I tell them I already know I am the luckiest. She is from Texas, and this is her sixth month out on her mission. Her Spanish and accent is amazing! She helps me out a lot and knows all the best tricks.
Also, I feel so lucky to have her as a companion because we are OPENING A NEW AREA! It takes A LOT of work and A LOT of diligence, and she has got all the skills needed! Also, we are the only companionship that only teaches Spanish lessons. The three other Hermana Companionships teach both in English and Spanish. I feel so blessed to be speaking just Spanish. It will really force me to rely on the Lord's strength as I try to teach. We have been working hard at finding investigators. Right now we have gotten four who are considered "new/progressing." Two of them have been meeting with missionaries previously. I will tell you about one of our investigators, from the first time I heard about him I felt something really good inside about him. On Sunday I had the greatest experience thus far on my mission. I got to ask him, Fernando, if he would prepare to be baptized on the 13th of October. This was my first time extending a major invitation to anyone out in the field. It felt so amazing!! I cannot wait to ask more and more of Heavenly Father's children to follow the example of Jesus Christ. The spirit that comes when you ask that question is greater than anything else I have experienced. I feel so blessed to be asking people to follow their Savior, the greatest question I could ask people for the next year and a half.
So ready for what I think is a delightful and hilarious story? I hope you enjoy it!
My friend at the MTC would always say, "God has a huge sense of humor." I never quite understood this phrase, well, at least until this week.
[A little background info for those who do not know everything about me. I have only eaten fish maybe three times in my life (and it was under coercion)! All were awful experiences. I do not like fish!! Not from the river and not from the sea. While growing up, if my parents ever cooked fish, I would freak out and demand that I live outside until every particle of the smell had evacuated my home. This silly action continued into my teenage years...sorry parents for being a silly pain sometimes!]
Well, ... this week the Fallstroms went FISHING! And caught 600 poundsof TUNA!! That is a lot of fish! One day I walked into our part of the house, which is the basement, and an overwhelming smell of tuna engulfed me. They were pressurizing nearly all the tuna that day and had put 4 pressure cookers in the basement because they ran out of counter space upstairs. Very Fishy Smelling!! This is when I decided that Heavenly Father does have a sense of humor! He knew that at home I would have freaked out a whole lot. But since I was in a new place and did not need to keep up my freaking out tradition, I soon came to find out that fish smell isn't as bad as I have always made it out to be. It didn't bother me at all! So parents, I am sorry that I always threw a fit when fish smells were involved. I really could have survived inside!
For other news: There is a restaurant that is a reclaimed train! I think my brother Jon would absolutely think it was so cool! Jon, have you ever been to Spokane? I think you would enjoy it! It is like a mix of city and forest all in one. It is really neat!!
I love you all! I wish I could share every moment with you all! Love, Hermana Phipps
We have not heard from Emma since she touched down in Spokane on Monday September 9th!
Her Mission President did contact us though and sent a picture of her with her new Senior Companion Sister Quinn. President Mullen said, "Our great desire is that her time here will further establish her on the path of righteousness, as well as bless the many people she will serve."
Emma's current address for the next six weeks is:
Sister Emma Rose Phipps
16904 North Day Mt. Spokane Road
Mead, WA 99021
On Sunday, September 8th, Emma enjoyed her last full day in Mexico. Emma will head to the airport at 3:00 a.m. Monday morning to fly into Phoenix and then on to Spokane!
Emma was allowed to e-mail us. She was not packed yet, but said, "no worries!"
Emma wrote the following to us:
Dear Daddy asked me to share my favorite experience here at the Mexico MTC. So here I go!
I would love to tell you about my greatest experience at the MTC!
My favorite experience at the MTC started at 5 o'clock July 31, 2013 and continued until 3 o'clock in the morning of September 9th. ENSERIO (Spanish Translation: Seriously)!
Every moment has been so amazing. I have had to GROW and LEARN a whole lot!!
I loved seeing all the birds take refuge at this oasis.
I loved becoming so close with 11 missionaries who I get to call my district best friends.
I loved hearing their testimonies.
I loved learning how to be a better person and companion.
I loved teaching five different investigators.
I loved the moment when three of the dear investigator's thoughtfully said yes to the all important invitation to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be Baptized!
I loved being scared to death every sacrament meeting and listening to hear if my name would be called out once again.
I loved receiving letters.
I loved reading emails.
I loved relying on the spirit when my own efforts were not enough.
I loved coming to know that we truly need to walk by faith not by sight.
I loved relying on my Heavenly Father when I needed advice in my life.
I loved learning how to love more like how the Savior would love.
I loved meeting members from a culture so much more different than mine, but with testimonies just as strong, if not stronger than I have seen before.
I loved feeling your love all these miles away.
I love standing in the crazy rain they have here and just feeling completely that I was exactly where I need to be.
I loved every moment.
And I love everyone of you.
Love, Hermana Emma Rose Phipps
[It is September 5th and Emma is getting ready to leave the Mexico MTC. She will fly out next Monday to Spokane, Washington, USA!!]
Thank you for sending the ward newsletter. I so enjoyed it! I like keeping up with my dear ward friends. I am so sad to hear about the hardships in our ward right now. My heart goes out to those families.
The biggest smile came on my face when I heard you did the pancake breakfast with the grandkids! I am glad they liked it.
I have been thinking so much about you all lately! I couldn't ask for a better family than the one I am blessed with. So, I am feeling pretty ill right now, so instead of stressing and writing a whole lot, I am just checking in and sharing a few things. The day before I leave, I get to e-mail again. So on Sunday I will write like I usually do. NO WORRIES about me being sick. I am doing well here, and I am sure that I will be feeling fine again in no time.
I am so excited to be heading to Spokane! But also, oh so nervous!! Last week we met another girl who is heading to Spokane! We spent five weeks at the MTC without crossing paths!
I really love this MTC so much. I couldn't have asked to have it any better.
I couldn't be more thankful to be learning Spanish. Seriously, I love this language! Even more I love the people. I have had a lot of random experiences with natives this week. It is so much fun but also very scary 'cause I am not at all good at talking Spanish yet. On Sunday, I went to a meeting with the wife of the President of our branch. They do not speak English a speck. But I actually was able to understand them! Reading and listening are my strongest points right now. I FAIL at speaking... I am working on that though! Speaking Spanish went a LOT better this week! Which makes me so happy!
Oh, one more thing. Funny story time! I told everyone in my district that I would be the first person to fall here. Last Thursday, I fulfilled my prophecy!!! Ha..Ha..Ha. Hermana Taylor and I were doorbell ditching a note and some treats to some girls in our district when I slipped majorly on a mud patch. I'll send pictures of the results sometime. Ha Ha, I laughed SO HARD!!
[Note from parents: Emma had quite an issue with staying upright her first year at BYU...she worries about falling and it happens way too often!]
I love you ALL! Hear more from me Sunday!